I have run out of space at Blogspirit and I don't want to delete my archives in order to open up space for new posts. My new home can be found by clicking here.
Here's an article on things to do and see in the BVI. If you are heading that way or thinking about it, this is a read for you.
I have always wanted to try paragliding. After reading this story, I think I'll stick with watersports close to the surface.
A champion paraglider described today her terror at being flung to a height greater than Mount Everest by a tornado-like thunderstorm in Australia.
Ewa Wisnerska, 35, was sucked so high that she blacked out and became encased in ice.
“You can’t imagine the power. You feel like nothing, like a leaf from a tree going up,” she told Australian radio.
Wisnerska, from Germany, was preparing for the 10th World Paragliding Championships above the town of Manilla in New South Wales when the storm struck on Wednesday.
With terrifying speed she was whisked from 2,500 ft to an estimated 32,000 ft in about 15 minutes. “I was shaking all the time. The last thing I remember it was dark. I could hear lightning all around me,” she said.
Her ordeal was recorded by global positioning and a radio attached to her equipment.
When her desperate attempts to skirt the powerful thunderstorm failed, she concluded that her chances of survival were “almost zero.” “I said, 'I can’t do anything. It’s raining and hailing and I’m still climbing — I’m lost.”’
The paragliding 2005 World Cup winner lost consciousness for more than 30 minutes while her aircraft flew on uncontrolled, sinking and lifting several times.
“There’s no oxygen. She could have suffered brain damage. But she came to again at a height of 6,900 metres with ice all over her body and slowly descended herself,” said Godfrey Wenness, the event organizer and one of Australia’s most experienced paraglider pilots.
After regaining consciousness, she felt like an astronaut returning from the Moon as the ground loomed beneath her. “I could see the Earth coming — wow, like Apollo 13 — I can see the Earth,” she said.
Wisnerska landed safely 40 miles from her original launch site with ice in her lightweight flying suit and frost bite to her face.
She spent just an hour in a hospital for observation and hopes to compete in biennial championships which begin on February 24.
Earlier this month a British paraglider survived an attack by two large eagles while flying in the same area.
We are going to be celebrating a half century on the planet next year in the BVI's. A week of pleasure with friends and family on a beautiful 58' cat. Windsurfing, scuba, hamocking, floating and searching for the perfect Mai Tai! Check the boat and crew here.
Christmas day in the raging waters of the Southern Ocean, and Raphael Dinelli is hunkered alone in his cabin, hanging on against what will be either baptism or last rites in these cold, violent seas. It's not up to him anymore. He is somewhere near the midpoint of a single-handed around-the-world yacht race called the Vendïe Globe: a 26,000-mile run from Les Sables d'Olonne, France, and back, no stops allowed, you and your boat for more than three months against the worst the open ocean can roil up. And this is the worst. Out of 15 boats in this unlucky race, four will sink in these empty latitudes. Dinelli's will be the first. He is 1,200 miles southwest of Australia, barely a thousand miles north of Antarctica, in the midst of a trashing that his 60-foot sloop, Algimouss, will not survive.
Fifty-knot winds (about 58 miles per hour) have rolled him twice, laid his sails in the water for minutes at a time while 50-foot breakers collapse, burying him again and again in an avalanche of ice water. In a last telex to race headquarters in France he says that the seas are "smoking" as the wind tears the breaking wave tops into driving clouds of mist, that he has all sails down and two sea anchors astern in a vain attempt to slow the terrifying speeds at which he is hurtling down the sheer wave faces. Finally, in the cold, early dark of Christmas night, 1996, a huge breaker sends the 28-year-old Frenchman surfing for the last time. He watches helplessly as his speed reaches 26 knots, braces himself, and then crashes to the ceiling of his cabin as Algimouss slams into the wave trough, somersaults, and settles upside down in the torrent.
Frigid water rushes into the turtled boat through a hole torn in the deck by the shattered mast, which is levering around in the wash. Trapped, with water up to his waist, Dinelli pulls on his immersion suit, gathers survival supplies, and waits as waves roar and crash overhead and fuel from a ruptured tank fills the cabin with a stink that gets him puking. Three hours later, the mast breaks away, the boat comes right, and he scrambles onto the swamped deck. Under pitch-black skies, he sets off his distress beacons, inflates his life raft, and loads it with food and water, only to see the surge tear it loose of its tether and dance it away on the waves. Then, as Algimouss sinks slowly out from under him, he lashes himself to the stub of the mast, faces into the bitter wind to keep himself awake, and thinks about dying, as so many others have died, in the lonely furies of the most treacherous ocean on earth.
Continue reading here.
Richard Spindler is the publisher of Lattitude 38. He has a pretty great life when on vacation, but might work too hard when in the office. He does have a unique vision and has made a mint with his little sail rag.
Here are his latest words of wisdom: If you've read the February issue of Latitude 38, you know that the Wanderer, the pen name for the publisher of Latitude 38, celebrated the 30th year of publishing Latitude by spending six weeks in the Caribbean, most of it aboard the Leopard 45 cat 'ti Profligate. We weren't doing anything particularly grand, just living aboard, doing a bit of work, a bunch of playing with the ocean, and making friends with locals and other cruisers. It was sweet.
Now back, we'd like to share with you the one overriding impression we've gotten upon returning. The Bay Area, where we were born and have lived for almost our entire life, and certainly one of the garden spots of the world, turns out to be one strange and unnatural place. (Of course, we're certain the same can be said for most metro areas of the U.S., if not the world.) For until you've been away for a reasonable chunk of time, we think it's difficult to appreciate how much anxiety and fear-inducing sensationalist crap is pumped into our brains via all the various media, and what mountains are made out of molehills.
Doña de Mallorca and we got our first whiff of this a few days before coming home while at the Bath & Turtle Pub at Spanishtown in the British Virgin Islands. We hadn't watched television in six weeks, but they had CNN with Paula Zahn on, although the sound was off. We'd watched plenty of that stuff before we went to the islands, and it seemed normal. But having not seen it in a long time, it came across as completely bizarre.
For one thing, the set, as well as the outfits worn by the host and guests, were of vibrant primary colors such as aren't found anywhere in nature. As for Ms. Zahn, Wolf Blitzer, and the various 'experts', they looked more like freaks than the normal people. Their teeth were too white, they had enormous repertoires of phony expressions, and the endless over-the-top gestures they made had clearly been drummed into them by communication gurus. Plus, they made every stupid little thing seem so earth-shakingly important.
As for the 'news' itself, what a joke. The astronaut in diapers, Mayor Newsom's sex life, some preacher coming out of rehab for being gay, and God knows what else. We couldn't wait to get back to the boat and sit under the stars and listen to the wavelets slap against the hull.
The bottom line is to recognize that your brain is being inundated with so much bogus information that you can't help but develop a completely unnatural impression of the world and reality. The good news is that there is a real world, and the people who reside in it are much more pleasant than those normally found on television, in newspapers, and on the Internet. Plus the events are far less catastrophic. May we all more completely inhabit that world some day.
What a great tittle. Got your atention, no? Anyway here is some cool info on a white dwarf in the Helix nebula. A dead star similar to our sun that is engulfing its nearby planets. Be sure to check out the extraordinary pics and vids. Check it here.
My 11 year old son received a Wii for his birthday this week. I have never been a fan of video games but this thing is so cool. With the interactive interface, you can play against other folks or the computer in baseball, tennis, bowling and more. Today he downloaded an Opera browser from the Wii store and now we can surf the internet on our flat panel TV! I just showed him the flying video and he was amazed. I love technology!
Blistering sun and river debris, not the Amazon's crocodiles or piranhas, have been the main adversaries of Slovenian Martin Strel so far in his 3,375-mile (5,430-km) swim down the world's greatest river.
Strel, 52, began the swim on February 1 in the Peruvian jungle town of Atalaya, planning to emerge from the river within 70 days on Brazil's Atlantic coast and break his own record for the world's longest swim.
He was prepared for just about any threat the Amazon could throw at him, including its piranhas, snakes, electric eels, crocodiles and even the feared toothpick fish that swims into body orifices, erects a spine and feeds on blood and tissue.
The sun was not his biggest concern, but now it is.
"I pray for three days of rain and I will be a new man again," a sunburnt Strel told Reuters on Friday by e-mail.
Expedition manager Borut Strel said his father was having to alter his swimming timetable to avoid the sun as much as possible.
Strel's team, which includes doctors and river guides, cut up a T-shirt to cover his face as he swims.
"So far the biggest problem has been the sun. We have not even had two days of rain, all day its just sun. Martin's face is burned, his lips are burned. He has blisters, big blisters," Borut Strel said by satellite phone.
Martin Strel holds Guinness Book records for swimming the Danube in Europe, the Mississippi in the United States and the Yangtze in China.
The $1 million swim down the Amazon, the world's most voluminous river, is paid for by sponsors in the name of world peace and environment and will be nearly 930 miles (1,500 km)longer than the record-holding Yangtze swim in 2004.
Another major obstacle has been river debris.
"There's a lot of trees, logs, debris on the river. The river is very muddy. We have to be very careful to guide Martin because he can't see anything in front of him," his son said.
Strel rises at 5 a.m. every day and starts swimming within an hour. He swims until noon, has lunch, a 20-minute nap, and then its back into the water until dusk.
He is moving faster than expected, covering about 62 miles
a day, at an average speed of 6 miles per hour aided by the rushing current. His team thinks he could finish the trek to the Atlantic several days ahead of schedule.
Ahead of Strel, who has dropped 11 lb (5 kg) in a week, still lies Iquitos, notorious for waters infested by ferocious, flesh-eating piranha.
His team has prepared buckets of animal blood, loaded onto support boats to distract the fish and reptiles.
Near the end of his journey he will face a tidal bore, or wave, about 13 feet high, known as the Pororoca.
I had a chance to try this once at a similar place in Vegas. It's not as easy as it looks as you have to balance yourself perfectly or you will go off course and hit the wall. The one I visited had taken a jet engine and put it in the floor with a huge grate over it. Crank it up and fly. Great soundtrack by Seal!
Lee Winters is getting ready to slip the dock lines and head out to sea for a 5 year cruise. He has the boat and is preparing it for the long haul. Read about his progress here.
I stumbled upon a video site that that has compiled a list of the top vids of last year. Some of my fav's are posted below. Many you have seen already but there are many that you have not. Enjoy the show!
Here is some high def footage of a nice big day at Mav's. Takes a while to load but worth it. Click here.
Paul Lutus wrote on online account of his late 1980's sail trip around the world. This was one of the first accounts of circling the globe that I had ever read. He is a thinker and put an interesting spin on sailing and man's relationship with the sea. It's a long read but one that may inspire you to get out there and do some long distance sailing. You can read his story here.
The Mac 26 has been given a lot of bad press over the years. Some it deseves and some it does not. These are the "sail" boats that can also plane and pull a water skiier behind them. They use water balast in the keel for stability. I read about one couple who decided to release the ballast while they were out on the bay and the boat proptly turned over and sank! But give this boat a break. It does get folks on the water and if someone get hurt, it can get them back to port at 25kts. Here is a whole page devoted to this controversial boat.
Here at H2uh0 we feature the unusual, the bizzare, the extreme! Well here is another one that fits perfectly into that scenerio. A man with a dream to swim the Amazon River. The most dangourous river in the world. Filled with deadly fish, crocs and a little critter that will kill you if it gets into your system.
Read about this crazy here.
I rode my first wave back in about 1968 in southern Delaware on a 10' Dextra surfboard that my dad had bought at Sears. He bought it for my two sisters who thought it would be a great way to pick up guys in the line up. Once I stood on the wave, I was hooked. I spent days and days surfing the right at Indian River. I was so stoked when I moved to Cali in 1981 and lived on the beach in Carmel. I surfed most every day and charged on some really nice waves in Carmel, Big Sur and Santa Cruz with my buddy Jamie. There was nothing as fine as some cold water and big waves. Here's a narrated picture tour of some of the breaks and folks that shaped the surf scene way back when.
There has been some talk on the discussion boards about this 30 something couple circling the world on their cat. Folks are dissing them for their lack of culinary skill, a beer and pizza diet, and for not appreciating the different cultures and ways of the areas they visit. Well I say to each his own. Not everyone is going to sail the world in the same fashion. I think maybe there is some jealousy towards them as they are lucky enough to be doing it at the ripe age of 30. They have about 1000 miles left to go before they sell the boat and move on to another adventure in a VW camper. Check out their lastest logs entry here.
I just read an unbelievable story in Sail Magazine. So this big fishing trawler was headed to port after a long day at sea and all the sudden crash, splat, boom and the boat has a huge hole and is sinking. The crew calls out a Mayday over the radio and they are rescued. How did this happen? They pieced it together and found out that a Russian cargo plane was in the area at the time of the sinking. Apparently the crew found a lost cow and thought the would take it home with them. Halfway home, the cow went nuts, so to save themselves they pushed it off the plane. Talk about wrong place, wrong time. This maybe another prospect for the Bonehead Hall of Shame!
One of the most amazing things about the internet is the amount of free music available to listen to. One of the coolest sites with more music you could listen to in your life is Shoutcast. Thousands of music enthusiasts share their music libraries with you over the net. Pick a genre, click on a station and enjoy. Its all perfectly legal and safe. Listen to Dave Mathews 24/7, take your pick of jazz, electronic, 70's and much more. For more click here.
While the iPhone stole a lot of the thunder from this years CES in Vegas, there was still alot of cool stuff that went under the radar. Here are some of the top gagets from the show according to Pop Si. Click here.
The Teahupoo break in Tahiti's got a daunting reputation. When it's big, it shows no mercy. At Teahupoo, water pours off the reef and drops down into a cylinder-like cavern. If you look at the reef from the air you can see why the wave behaves the way it does. There is a tiny keyhole that allows a small channel, with a v-shaped bottom, to emerge. The other unique thing that separates this wave from most others is that it breaks below sea level, so you feel like you're in some sort of dungeon waiting to be let out. The back of the wave is basically flat, so there is no way of gauging just how big it is from behind. All you can see are massive amounts of white water getting shooting backwards as the wave explodes onto the shallow reef. Usually the first wave in a set sends so much white water in so many different directions that the second and third waves are unrideable. Surfers scurry to be the first to catch the first wave of the set. There is almost as much anticipation between the boatmen trying to get the ideal spot for a photo as with the surfers trying to catch the ultimate ride.
Knowing all this about Teauhpoo, it was clear that we had to get into contact with one of Tahiti's favorite sons, Robert Teriitehau. He's basically like a god down there and is fully respected by the Tahitian surfing fraternity. It took one quick phone call and a look at the weather maps to convince Robert to take us under his wing.
I left my clients on top of Mount Everest. They wanted it that way. Truth be told, Kit DesLauriers, her husband, Rob, and their great friend Jimmy Chin barely even noticed when I left. They were busy laughing, crying, taking pictures, hugging, and pointing out the far corners of the world visible at 11 a.m. on October 18, 2006, along with our crack team of nine climbing Sherpas, who'd heroically fixed every inch of the route up from our high camp at the South Col. I'd have preferred to stay and celebrate, too. Except these weren't just any clients. Each of the three was an elite athlete (Jimmy and Kit are both members of The North Face's professional team). And we had a deal: If they climbed to the top strong and responsibly, I'd let them find their own way down...on skis.
Mount Everest is not yet popular with skiers. Go figure. Perhaps it's because one must climb up first. Or the small matter that skiing Everest is life-threatening on the best day. It has been skied before. Among others, a few notable attempts include Japanese speed skier Yuichiro Miura, who in 1970 set his sights on the Lhotse Face, taking off from 26,000 feet at the South Col with a parachute, barely surviving a several-thousand-foot tumble and an Evel Knievel–like disregard for fractures. More recently, Slovenian Davo Karnicar is the only person in history to have actually skied continuously from the summit to Base Camp, which he did in less than five hours in 2000. Frenchman Marco Siffredi snowboarded the Great Couloir, on the north side, in 2001, before returning to the mountain and disappearing in the effort to board the Hornbein Couloir in 2002; he was 23.
Read more here.